Tag Archives: Stamford Bridge

Premier League Week 36 Game of the Week

4 May

Recap: Sunderland took a major step towards avoiding relegation with their 2-1 home win against the Southampton Saints. While it does look like Burnley and QPR will be dropping, with 4 matches left to play, Sunderland must fend off the likes of Hull City, Leicester City, Newcastle and Aston Villa.

This Week: 

Chelsea FC vs Liverpool FC

Chelsea FC vs Liverpool FC

Sunday, 10am CDT, Stamford Bridge

Why This Game is Intriguing: Because the Champions of the Premier League, Chelsea FC, will be deservedly honored and celebrated in this home match against Liverpool FC. Last season, these two clubs finished in the top 4, with Liverpool coming within a Steven Gerrard slip of winning the league against this same Chelsea team. Now, in this match this Sunday, the Liverpool players will be standing lined up outside of the tunnel to give Chelsea a guard of honor as they come onto the pitch. Say what you want about Chelsea’s style- and I have often been critical of it many times on this site- they won the league not just fair and square, but in a prolonged, dominating fashion. 13 points ahead of 2nd place Manchester City is a sign of the clinic these Chelsea players put on all season long, from start to finish.

Other Reasons to Watch: There is still much to play for if you are a Liverpool player and/or fan. Just 4 points behind arch rival Manchester United for 4th place- Liverpool will do everything they can to get a string of wins and earn a Champions League bid. They will need some help from the Red Devils, who have 3 very tricky games remaining: at Crystal Palace, vs Arsenal, and then at relegation fighters Hull City. If Liverpool can qualify for the Champions League over Manchester United, that would be considered a huge victory, and to some extent, a successful season for Brendan Rodgers’ club. Liverpool has had an up and down season, in large part due to the departing player of the year Luis Suarez who bolted to Barcelona after the World Cup. Liverpool can salvage a lot, in particular the likelihood of retaining Brendan Rodgers, if they can finish 4th in this year’s Barclays Premier League table.

Prediction: 1-1 draw

 

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EPL Week 33, Game of the Week

13 Apr

Recap: The Manchester Derby was a delightful match, featuring some of the top players in world football. It was Manchester United that came away with a 4-2 win, and a game in which the Red Devil’s dominated.

This Week:

Chelsea vs Manchester United

Chelsea vs Manchester United

Saturday, April 18th, 11:30am CST, Stamford Bridge

Why this game is intriguing: Form. Again. Manchester United is in splendid form, particularly after beating rivals Manchester City at Old Trafford 4-2 just last week. Louis van Gaal’s men are currently in 3rd place, just 1 point behind Arsenal, and 8 points (and 1 game) behind 1st place Chelsea. Now 4 points clear of City, the Red Devils have all but reached their #1 goal at the start of the season: Finish in the top 4, and earn a UEFA Champions League spot. United is one of, if not the biggest club in the world, with a globalized fan base. Their story this season, while not yet complete, is absolutely worth the headlines and the news coverage they receive. Chelsea have won their last 3 matches in a row, and having been eliminated from the Champions League and the FA Cup, winning the league is their only chance of getting a trophy this season, minus the Capital One Cup.

Other Reasons to Watch: The Manchester United midfield is something to behold, and while it did take awhile, this unit is the strength of the club. Marouane Fellaini is showing glimpses of the player he was at Everton before David Moyes brought him with to Manchester. He scores, he’s unselfish, and he’s a large presence in the box on crosses and corner kicks. Juan Mata is an intelligent Spaniard- the archtype of a number 8, and a player with great ball handling skills, vision, and scoring ability. Ander Herrera and Daley Blind are smooth passing defensive midfielders (Blind the more defensive of the two, Herrera more offensive). This unit thoroughly dominated the likes of Yaya Toure and Fernandinho in the Manchester Derby, and have really stepped up in the latter part of the season.

Prediction: United is on a train that can’t be stopped. I’m going Red Devil’s 3, Chelsea 1

English Premier League, Week 6 Game of the Week

29 Sep

Recap: Chelsea rocked 3rd place Aston Villa 3-0 thanks to goals from Oscar, Diego Costa, and Willian. Chelsea continues to look the part, as they are the class of the English Premier League. Their depth and goal-keeping continue to be points of consistency.

This Week:

Chelsea FC vs Arsenal FC

Chelsea FC vs Arsenal FC

Sunday, October 5th, 8:05am (CST) Stamford Bridge

Why This Game is Intriguing: A London derby featuring 2 of England’s best clubs. Chelsea comes off a 3-0 drubbing at Villa Park- while not unexpected, the result seems to have catapulted Chelsea into what we already knew they were- the best Premier League team at present time. Arsenal on the other hand comes into this game after a less than stellar result, a 1-1 draw to North London arch rivals Tottenham Hotspur. Arsenal scored the game tying goal late, as young English star Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain found the back of the net in the ’74. The Gunners were playing without injured captain Mikel Arteta, and Welsh star Aaron Ramsey had to be substituted at half due to a hamstring issue. It is also important to note that both of these clubs have Champions League matches earlier in the week: Chelsea travels to Portugal to face Sporting Club Lisbon on Tuesday, while the Gunners host Turkish Champions Galatasaray at the Emirates on Wednesday.

Other Reason to Watch this Game: Cesc Fabregas of Chelsea. The Catalan midfielder will play his old club, the club he played at for 9 years, for the first time as a Chelsea player. Cesc was the captain at Arsenal for many years, and was without a doubt, along with Robin van Persie, their best player. Now, Cesc is the focus of the Chelsea attack, leading the league in assists with 6. Cesc was an important player for Barcelona too in between his spells at the two London-based clubs, but opted to return to England to receive more playing and in the hopes of winning his first Premier League title- something he was unable to achieve at Arsenal.

Soccahaus Prediction: Chelsea 2, Arsenal 1

English Premier League, Week 5 Game of the Week

22 Sep

Recap: Down a man, Frank Lampard scored in the final minutes against his old club for Manchester City. The 1-1 draw was an outstanding result for the Citizens as home, because it was Chelsea who dominated much of the game, and are currently the league leaders. This is a game City can look to build upon.

This Week:

Chelsea FC vs Aston Villa FC

Chelsea FC vs Aston Villa FC

Saturday, September 27th, 9am (CST) Stamford Bridge

Why This Game is Intriguing: 2 games, 2 draws for Chelsea. First against against Schalke at home in what was frantic, come from behind effort on the part of the Germans in the Champions League, and second at the Etihad in a hard fought, emotional game against Manchester City. Chelsea will look to bounce back from those results, and that shouldn’t be too hard considering they have the top goal scorer in the Premier League in Diego Costa (7), and the top assist man in Cesc Fabregas (6). As is typical with Jose Mourinho managed teams, this Chelsea squad is compact defensively, dangerous and attacking on the wings when on the counter, but not as poised or intelligent when it comes to possession. Against Schalke, unless Chelsea were on the counter, they seemed lost just passing the ball around, without much flair going towards the net.

Other Reasons to Watch this Game: Aston Villa is currently in 3rd place, having won 3 games, drawn once, and lost once. The lone loss was a blowout at home to Arsenal, the lone draw was at home to winless Newcastle, and the 3 victories came at Liverpool, at Stoke, and at home to Hull City. Gabriel Agbonglahor is a real threat going forward, as is Austrian Andreas Weiman. Fabian Delph is an incredibly athletic and intelligent midfielder, who recently made his first international appearance with the English National team. Anchoring the defense is Aly Cissokho, formerly of Liverpool, Valencia, and Lyon. American Brad Guzan is one of the best goal keepers in the Premier League, and has played sensationally thus far in the early season. Aston Villa was in real danger of being relegated last season, but already this season the club looks to be much improved.

Soccahaus Prediction: Chelsea 4, Aston Villa 1

English Premier League, Week 31, Game of the Week

17 Mar

Recap: I thought that the magic of White Hart Lane would be enough to catapult the Yids to a victory over their North London counterparts Arsenal. Unfortunately for them, it was Tomas Rosicky’s goal just a minute in a half into the match that was enough to seal the deal for the Gunners. The goal was class, but Spurs ought to be disappointed with their missed chances, particularly in the 2nd half.

This Week:

Chelsea FC vs Arsenal FC

Chelsea FC vs Arsenal FC

Saturday, March 22nd, 7:45am (CDT) Stamford Bridge

Why This Game is Intriguing: Because this match features 2 clubs from London who are 1st and 3rd in the Premier League standings. 1st place Chelsea is coming off a 0-1 loss to Aston Villa in Birmingham this past week, while Arsenal is flying high after beating their hated North London rivals. Not only is Chelsea coming off of a loss, but Chelsea also must play Galatasaray at home this week as they look to fend off the Turkish champs in order to advance to the round of 8 in the Champions League. Chelsea has a lot on their plate, but Arsenal still must compete in order to ensure themselves of a top 4 finish.

Other Reasons to Watch this Game: Because this game features arguably the most gifted attacking player in the league (Chelsea’s Eden Hazard) vs the best defensive player in the league (Arsenal’s Per Mertesacker). While some may label Eden Hazard as slightly overrated, I definitely don’t, as his 13 goals and 7 assists lead this 1st place Chelsea team. Is he as good as Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo?- frankly he isn’t in that conversation- but his production, consistency, and creative flair in attack are the reason why Chelsea finds itself in the position they are currently in. Anyone who has watched an Arsenal game this year will tell you that Per Mertesacker is the Gunners’ most consistent and important player. With injuries to key players Theo Walcott, Aaron Ramsey, Mesut Ozil, and Jack Wilshire this season- it has been Mertesacker who has been standing tall in front of goal the entire season- largely unscathed.

Soccahaus Prediction: Chelsea 3, Arsenal 1

Other Games this week worth Watching: Manchester City vs Fulham, Cardiff vs Liverpool, Everton vs Swansea, West Ham vs Manchester United, Tottenham vs Southampton

English Premier League, Week 36 Game of the Week

6 May

Recap of Last Week: I incorrectly predicted the winner of the game, and I definitely overestimated the amount of goals that were scored in this game. Chelsea beat English champs Manchester United away at Old Trafford by a score of 1-0 thanks to a goal by Juan Mata in the 87′. This game was not without controversy, as Manchester United defender Rafael was unjustly sent off- David Luiz received a minor elbow from his fellow brazilian, and video clearly shows Luiz was just fine, faking an injury.

This Week: 

Chelsea FC vs Tottenham Hotspur

Chelsea FC vs Tottenham Hotspur

Wednesday, May 8th, 1:45pm (CST) Stamford Bridge

Why This Game is Intriguing: Tottenham Hotspur needs to win or draw this game, plain and simple, if they want to finish top 4 and participate in the Champions League next season. This might be, for all intensions and purposes, one of the most important matches in the history of Tottenham Hotspur football. The Spurs are currently in 5th place with 65 points, while Chelsea is currently in 3rd place with 68 points, and Arsenal is in 4th, just in between these two clubs, with 67 points. Chelsea, Arsenal, and Tottenham- 3 London based clubs with tremendous followings both in England and around the world, are fighting for the final 3rd and 4th place spots- and there will be one loser who misses out. It’s not just making the prestigious tournament- it’s all of the added bonuses that come with being a Champions League club- most notably all of the revenue and exposure the club attains for an entire year and beyond.

Other Reasons to Watch This Game: A rematch with much larger stakes. These clubs last met on October 20th at White Hart Lane, where Chelsea won 4-2 thanks to goals by Juan Mata in the 66′ and 69′ minutes. This time around though, the Champions League is staring both of these clubs in the face. Chelsea is playing some outstanding football as of late both in England and in the Europa League, and the Blues have a roster deep enough and capable enough to handle the rigors of winning both in Europe and at home. A loss here for Tottenham would be absolutely crushing- if the Spurs fail to qualify for the Champions League, there is a very good chance Welsh star Gareth Bale and Portuguese manager Andre Villas-Boas leave and go elsewhere.

Soccahaus Prediction: Chelsea 3, Tottenham 1

Other Games This Week Worth Watching: Sunderland vs Stoke, Manchester City vs West Brom, Wigan Athletic vs Swansea

English Premier League, Week 35 Game of the Week

29 Apr

Recap of Last Week: In what was a tightly contested, well-played match, Arsenal and Man United notched a draw at the Emirates thanks to goals from Theo Walcott in the 2′ and by Robin van Persie off a PK in the 44′. Arsenal gave Man United the “Guard of Honor” which was particularly awkward for former Arsenal star van Persie as he ran out onto his former home pitch.

This Week:

Manchester United vs Chelsea FC

Manchester United vs Chelsea FC

Sunday, May 5th, 9AM (CST) Old Trafford

Why This Game is Intriguing: The battle for 3rd and 4th place continues into this week, and Chelsea is right in the thick of things as we enter the 4th to last week of the season. Chelsea is currently in 3rd place, just 1 point ahead of 4th place Arsenal and 3 points ahead of Tottenham. As we already know, Manchester United enters this game as Premier League champions, and how much they desire to win will definitely impact the final score of this game. What exactly does Manchester United have to play for? Their home fans at Old Trafford? My guess is Manchester United will seek motivation for this game in the form of FA Cup revenge. The last time these 2 clubs played was back on April 1st at the Stamford Bridge for the FA Cup quarterfinal, where Chelsea won 1-0 off a goal from Demba Ba early in the 2nd half. Expect United to make a statement at home in this match to avenge that loss.

Other Reasons to Watch This Match: Chelsea and manager Rafa Benitez are fortunate to have a deep roster, for Chelsea plays this match against United just 3 days after playing FC Basel at home for the 2nd leg of the Europa League semifinal. Chelsea enters the Europa League match up 2-1 with their 2 away goals, but there is no doubt Chelsea is operating here as if both games are must wins- and they definitely are for a club seeking to get back into the Champions League next season and to continue this streak of winning trophies. The trio of Juan Mata, Oscar, and Eden Hazard continue to develop and getter each game, and those are the three players to look out for in this match against United.

Soccahaus Prediction: Man U 3, Chelsea 2

Other Games This Week Worth Watching: Swansea vs Man City, Tottenham vs Southampton, Liverpool vs Everton, QPR vs Arsenal